The Bike of The Future

Wireless gear shifting and disc brakes are here whether as prototypes or esoteric options for a bike-build. We can see these trends and extrapolate from them to see the bike of the future.

Electronic shifting has been around for some time but, like a roofrack mounted on a sports car, it can still feel like an unwelcome accessory. Manufacturers are beginning to address this with more integration as cables and battery packs can be placed inside the frame now but we still see the CPU unit attached to the stem with a cable tie. If it has to dangle in the open air you’d hope there would be a more elegant solution like a proprietary clip based on a headset spacer but better still, imagine a stem cap containing a USB port that connects to a CPU unit hidden in the stem or fork steerer so that the battery can be charged anywhere. Our bike of the future will probably have wireless shifting too. Maybe this won’t be as liberating as we might imagine because it could mean four separate items to charge.

It’s possible to have a bike with disc brakes already but it’s rare, as it’s not allowed in competition nor visible in mass-market sales. The bigger point to consider is that simply fitting disc brakes to an existing frame design is only a temporary solution. The position of the brakes changes and therefore the load on the frame and forks changes significantly. No longer is the brake bridge on the rear stays subjected to load, ditto the fork crown. Instead there are strong asymmetric forces on the rear chainstays and forks, each time presumably on the left hand side. Consequently an existing frame design with added brake mounts seems a temporary fix, we should really see a redesign, possibly with beefier left hand stays and forks to cope with the load. In turn if the rim is no longer used for braking we can expect changes in wheel design, essentially thinner sidewalls although the weight gains will surely be small given rims tend to fail on impact or in a crash rather because of wear but the whole hub, axle and dropout concept could be reviewed, we’ll see thru-axles copied across from MTB and maybe 135mm width to give more room for 11 speed and discs in an already crowded space.

Talking of mounts and brakes, the use of Direct Mount brakes from Shimano is rising. Instead of the traditional single bolt, Direct Mount sees the brake caliper attached to the frame or fork via two bolts. It offers a stronger fit and the brake calipers can fit flush with the frame. We can see proprietary brakes fitted on bikes like the Giant Propel too but if discs arrive maybe these will vanish?

Today we still see many bikes with speed and cadence sensors mounted via cable ties. Some manufacturers like Trek and Giant are doing away with this by incorporating Ant+ sensors into frame. It’s a good idea because anything attached to the bike via a zip-tie is signalling a design error.

Tubeless tires seem futuristic but their adoption isn’t happening fast. The pro peloton continues to use tubulars but this is helped by the presence of following cars laden with wheels because a puncture sees the wheel swapped; for the amateur it’s easier to use clinchers and swap out the inner tube. Tubulars look set to live on, at least in the pro peloton. It’s amusing to think our bike of the future relies on sewing.

Power meters are more and more visible. Shimano are said to be working on proprietary power meter and SRAM have bought Quarq. The technology is simple in theory – step on digital scales in your bathroom and you’re using a strain gauge – but accurate data is expensive. New systems arrive but if they have a large margin of error their use isn’t effective. If the data are useful but still reserved for the niche within the upper end of the market, most people just want to ride anyway.

We will also see the rise of FSA which is beginning to sponsor several teams in advance of the release of a wireless electronic shifting groupset. The Taiwanese firm has already been making components and now wants to supply a full groupset. By contrast you wonder about Campagnolo because it has a small market share of component sales but needs big revenues and profits to support the R&D; right now the firm is looking at moving more jobs to Romania prompting a crisis in its Vicenza plant with strikes looming: a case study for the Italian economy as a whole.

UCI rule changes
The advent of disc brakes pre-supposes permission from the UCI. Another possible change is the end of the 6.8kg rule. In order to comply with this rule we’ve seen bikes with added weight, from deep section rims to power meters and more and it still hasn’t been enough to meet the minimum weight. If this rule is scrapped or, say, lowered to 6.0kg then we could imagine more work on lighter bikes.

Plenty has changed, plenty has not changed

Will the future be better?
It’s easy to imagine more conservative readers howling at all these new-fangled changes. But did you rail at index shifting or the advent of Shimano STI and Campagnolo Ergopower which brought gear changing to the handlebars? There is a conceptual difference though because we’re moving from the mechanical to the electrical and repairs get that much harder. It’s not uncommon for users of electronic gears to ride home in the 11T after the system fails.

The introduction of press-fit bottom brackets is proof that progress is not always in the right direction. There’s a confusion of options available yet many systems share the problem of creaking under load. Some manufacturers abandoned the seatpost with integrated frames but this trend is reversing now. Both examples show novelties don’t have to become trends.

One final trend is price inflation. As a rough study, bike prices have risen far above the rate of inflation. Showing the data might make for a separate blog piece one day. For now look if we go back to 2000 general price inflation has risen by about 40-50% in Europe and the US so that what you could buy for €/$/£100 in 2000 costs about €/$/£140-150 today. But bike prices have risen a lot more, a team issue bike from 2000 can easily be 400% more expensive in 2015. Of course the comparison is not like for like, today’s bikes have improved significantly so the price rise is partly due to all the new tech on board. The trend is for top end bikes to get ever-more expensive.

It’s easy to think of some futuristic bike, a concept rather than a reality but the future is here: we’re seeing products appear that should become normal in the coming years. Integration of electronics is coming and disc brakes are a big talking point too but their arrival can’t come in isolation, a redesign of the frame and forks is likely. The bike of the future, in in the pro peloton should have the following:

  • tubulars
  • a weight of 6kg
  • wireless electronic shifting serviced by a single USB port with the CPU and battery hidden in the frame
  • integrated ANT+ sensors, perhaps powered by the shifter battery
  • disc brakes fitted on appropriately designed frame and forks to cope with the asymmetric loads
  • wheels re-designed for discs with lighter rims, revised hubs and thru-axles
  • a bigger price tag

118 thoughts on “The Bike of The Future”

  1. On the four-appliance issue re. wireless shifting, I would imagine that some kind of bike stand with wireless charging would appeal to pro-teams/wealthy cyclists.

    On your seven-point ‘bike of the future’ conclusion, your final point is the one we can say with certainty.

    • But the benefits of tubeless to a mountain biker are not translated in benefits to pro/elite road racers. The often quoted reasons for tubulars being used at pro level is that they can be ridden soft while awaiting assistance from the team car, etc. As far as I know, this would not happen with tubeless.

      • In my 5 years experience riding tubeless it does happen. A couple of times I’ve ridden over something that caused a fairly large gash that took several revolutions of the wheel before the tire sealed. I was left with a very soft but very rideable tire. I could have ridden home on it, albeit very slowly and carefully, but instead, having no following team car, I jumped off and pumped it up with my mini pump and rode on like nothing had happened.

  2. Very interesting stuff, Inrng. Maybe I’ll keep my old Carlton for a bit longer.

    Pedantry corner: “In turn if the rim is (no) longer used for braking…”

    Keep up the good work

    Cheers, Dave

  3. Sadly, the bike of the future will be unobtainable to the masses. Much like a Tesla, arguably the best electric alternative to a gas powered car, the bike will be too expensive to buy and maintain. Electronic shifting alone adds $1000 to the bottom line.

    • But does it matter? Most people don’t need a bike with this level of performance; plus the increments in performance difference between a sub-£1,000 road bike and a team-issue bike-of-the-future are still nowhere near the difference between, say, a VW Polo and an F1 car.

      It’s a shame to see the gap increasing – it’s an appealing part of the sport that professional-level kit is recognisably similar to the steed you wheeze to work on – but I can’t see it increasing to the point where the bikes in the peloton become unrecognisable vs. their day-to-day counterparts.

      After all, it’s in the interests (in fact, the overriding interest) of the manufacturers themselves that their gizmos are within the reach of the mass market. And there are few better ways to market your ‘performance’ gear than the endorsement that comes with professional use.

      • I’m not sure if it’s true, but F1 probably has something to do with the fact that the Polo has disc brakes.

        As to marketing, I’m never going to even touch an F1 car, but I enjoy that Mercedes is beating Ferrari.

      • It reminds me a bit of the watch market, it used to be that a $10,000 watch was about as expensive as you could get with a few wild exceptions. Now they’ve realised you can set any price in order to find the most expensive buyers but only for a few people. Many team bikes are great but you can get even more expensive machines, just as you can find very good bikes for less money.

        • There is but it’s a toothless rule with holes so large you can drive a truck though them. The bike does not ever have to be available for sale, just announced and marketed, or with a price tag so high due to being made from unobtainium.

          e.g. if you have a lazy £100,000 lying about you can buy the British Cycling track bike used at last Olympics, but expect to wait 3 months or more just to get a quote and heaven knows how long for delivery (if ever).

          This is the UCI rule:

          1.3.007 Bicycles and their accessories shall be of a type that is sold for use by anyone practising cycling as a sport.

          As a result of production imperatives (time constraints), an exception may be requested from the UCI for equipment that is a final product and that will be marketed in the nine months after its first use in competition. The manufacturer must however publish information on the equipment in question in advance and announce the date of its market launch.

          The use of equipment designed especially for the attainment of a particular performance (record or other) shall be not authorised.”

          • Yeah, even if you have the cash (which is ridiculous amounts of money for BC bikes) available to the public and actually being able to buy one before you get fed up waiting and cancel are two very different things 🙂

          • Not to mention just plain non-compliance with the rules. The 9-month clause gives teams and manufacturers a huge amount of room for back-tracking and changing of plans.

            One example, for the last couple of year a few teams have been using a stubby-tailed Giro Selector helmet for TTs that has never been made available to the public.

            Personally I think it’s a bit of an odd rule anyway for the top tiers of the sport, (I can perhaps see the point with the Olympics), but the pointy end should be all about innovation.

  4. I was surprised you didn’t include a photo of the CAAM Corse GA 8.2 Scroll down this page
    to see it. I’d guess we’re not too far away from seeing this treatment at the rear too, making wheel changes F1 fast. Otherwise, disk brakes are going to be a huge pain with through axles, varying rotor size and thickness, etc. Bike changes will probably become more prevalent ala MOTOGP where they swap bikes rather than wheels/tires when it rains.
    Aesthetically I find this stuff an abomination, destroying what I love about bicycles (SIMPLICITY) but won’t be surprised if some think it’s just great. I railed against indexed shifting back-in-the-day because of the need for all components to match rather than objection to having the shifting done via the brake hoods, but now that I’ve caved in to the inevitable I’ve stopped whining.
    BUT (you knew that was coming) the rise of events like l’Eroica prove that not everyone is so enamored by what is called “progress” by the bike industry marketing mavens.

  5. I’m not a techie, but just a quick comment on disc brakes etc. I had my 2015 model Merida Ride5000 delivered yesterday. This is a middle of the road spec but comes with disc brakes, properly adapted forks (or at least so Merida claim!) and thru-axels. So I agree the pro’s aren’t using this set-up yet, but as a club rider you can get all of this now on an Ultegra-equipped, sub £2000, off the shelf, standard model.

    • You can… but be careful if racing in a group still on conventional brake levers. Reason why it hasn’t been allowed in pro ranks yet, is a safety one – either everyone would need to adopt them, or no-one should… to make sure braking distances are more predictable/equal.

      • Sorry but this is just not true. I’ve ridden in groups with people on different group-sets, wheels (both alloy and carbon), different brake pads, with widely varying abilities and yes, some with disc brakes. throw in a wide range of rider weights and different choices in tyres and even different road surfaces across a road (you should see some of the patch jobs around the UK). No one plows into the back of anyone. Do you crash into cars on the motorway that have better brakes than you? The idea that every rider, even in the pro ranks, has exactly the same braking distance is absurd.

        Just because someone has disc brakes does not mean they lose all sense of how to brake. They have better modulation than rim brakes so it’s actually easier to match your braking to the person in front of you.

        • The problem isn’t the guy with a disk brake. Rather, it’s with the guy behind him who’s got a normal brake. They would expect the guy with the disk brake to brake more gradually and get surprised when the disk brake guy comes to a sudden halt.

          Besides, club rides are at lower speed. With a pro-peloton going at full steam, it is very likely that the guy behind would not physically has enough distance to brake as the disk brake guy stop too quickly.

          • And you have exactly the same problem when Thor Husovd is behind Alberto Contador in the line.

            Think about it like this, the only tie this becomes an issue is either when late braking or if there is a reason to slam on in the peloton (crash etc).

            In term of late braking:

            If I have discs and can brake later than the guy behind me on rims, he will brake before me and I’ll move away from him before I start braking, he will already have slowed down by the time I brake later and as such he won’t crash into me. If he does, he would have crashed into me anyway, regardless of brakes. If I am behind a guy on rim brakes, I just match his braking or overtake. Simple.

            In a crash in the peloton:

            If there is a crash in the peloton, it’s likely neither of us are braking, we’re going down. Even if I have chance to slam on, chances are the guy behind me is going into me anyway.

            The fact is there is a wide variety of braking in the peloton already and it’s not a problem, this will not change because of disc brakes. Just because someone has disc brakes does not mean they will start skidding into every corner and slamming on for every little hazard.

            I would place a large bet that people complaining about braking distance changes have a) never ridden on disc brakes in a group or with people on disc brakes.

  6. There’s something in all the new bike tech about the increasing fragmentation of the bike market. 20, even 10 years ago, buying a nice road bike was a simple task – there was a straight line from entry level to pro team replica with no deviation. But now what the pros race on is almost a dead end for real world cyclists – if I were bike shopping for my 30th birthday with a blank cheque I probably would have ended up with a top of the range Pinarello or Colnago or something, but if I were to do some blank cheque shopping for my 40th this year I’d be looking for something which fits wider tyres, runs disc brakes and perhaps is made of metal rather than plastic. I wouldn’t actually want a pro team replica and it’s not because I’m older – I’m fitter and faster than I was ten years ago, but it’s that the bike business is actually catering to my needs now. A top pro bike setup is pretty irrelevant to me, all power meters and deep rim wheels and disposable frames…

    • Marketing is key. Once you have a pro team replica they want to sell you replicas of the one the pro team uses for Paris Roubaix, then the one the pro team uses for chrono, then the one their designated sprinter rides, etc. etc. Back-in-the-day that was pretty much all the same bike, one that amazingly hits 2 out of 3 of your 40th birthday wishes. Somehow this is all chalked up as “progress” but what they really mean is PROFIT.
      On the other hand, I wonder about inflated price claims as again back-in-the-day a pro-quality Italian bike could be had for about the price of a small, cheap car. I see ads for small, cheap cars on TV these days for around $10K US…and I’d guess the typical pro replica machine of today is around that price at retail? One benefit of the UCI minimum weight is that now a competitive machine can be bought for far less than $10K…refer to the Colombian kid on a garden-variety Giant cleaning the clock of the Manx Missile on his gawd-knows-how-costly, super-duper, aero-wonder machine a few weeks back. May it always be the legs and lungs rather than the wallet!!!

  7. Minor point re the electronic shifting, it the battery runs out I’m fairly sure it just leaves you in the last gear you were in. It doesn’t spring down to the smallest cog like it would if your gear cable snapped on a mechanical set up. I’m not 100% sure as I haven’t had a battery failure yet and I’m not about to start experimenting!

    • But at least with a cable-operated setup all it takes is a screwdriver to put the bike in any gear you like to make it home. A guy I came upon awhile back probably didn’t realize he could have simply put his Shimano Di2 machine’s chain on the big ring and ridden home vs spinning like a madman? I couldn’t remember exactly how to do it and couldn’t speak the guy’s language well enough to get him to experiment with it, so he twiddled all the way back to the bike shop in a 39 X 11.

      • As the link outlines the system allows for a manual override at any time, but can otherwise be used to select gears for optimal efficiency or has modes for constant heart rate, cadence or power output.

        As with other innovations it’ll be interesting to see if the UCI bans it as it gets refined over the next few years.

  8. Truth be told, disc brakes are here to stay, mechanical shifting is being phased out at the highest level (it’s too complicated to reengineer for additional gears), and the front derailleur will likely be replaced with Alfine Di2 hub-style configurations (that’s a lot further away though). And thru-axles will replace QR’s on most high end brands.

    A quick note on batteries: they last a long time and require extreme negligence to drain to zero charge.

    • Batteries last a long time in wired systems as they do not need to drain power when not being used (i.e. not shifting). WiFi (or bluetooth) is power hungry and requires a constant connection for shifting, that means using battery power even when you’re on a long flat sat in the same gear.

      I’ve read hints of Sram saying you could carry a couple of extra batteries if you are out on a long, multi-day ride. It may even have been on this blog. To me that’s wholly unacceptable. As soon as you have to start carrying extra bits it becomes more hassle than it is worth.

      The other issue is battery placement. Seatpost/tube Di2/EPS? Hard to forget when charging and they are much bigger than anything you could fit on a derailleur. Small, detachable batteries? Much easier to forget or even forget to charge.

      I hope the charge lasts a long time, but I really doubt it and Sram have been very careful to only mention that the non-rechargable batteries in the shifters will last for months. No mention so far as to how long the derailleur batteries last.

      • What, you don’t carry a spare tube with you now on a ride? A coin battery like a CR2032 isn’t very heavy or expensive to carry for piece of mind while out on a ride.

        Maybe we should all be still getting around in a horse and cart instead of these new fangled things called automobiles with their fancy internal combustion engines and spongy pneumatic tyres.

        • The spare batteries for Sram derailleurs are not CR2032 like. They will only be using those in the shifters. They will be expensive proprietary battery packs.

          I already carry two tubes, levers, multitool, lock, pump, arm warmers (Scotland’s cold all year sometimes!), multi-tool, spare chain link, food, dry gloves when it’s wet, first aid kit and probably some other things I’ve forgotten as the roads have been too icy to ride recently…

          Now I have to take extra batteries with me to power something that offers no benefits over current, wired electric systems? No thanks.

          To be fair, I don’t ride electronic stuff at all. It’s a nice to have, great if you’re racing, but certainly no where near worth the cost to a guy like me 🙂

  9. The advance that I would like to see is….the drivetrain, it’s been more than 100 years with chain and cogs; it’s time we have a real breakthrough for a new type of drivetrain for the bike.

    • The advance I’d like to see are the wheels. Sure: round wheels work, but they’ve been around a long time. The time is right for a breakthrough in advanced wheel shapes.

  10. Nice article.
    I don’t believe discs will happen in the pro peloton.
    Presently, they’re heavier.
    It will be very difficult to integrate into the peloton because unless everyone switches en mass it will be dangerous with cantilevered bikes rear ending disced bikes.
    Wheel changes take longer and disc/caliper compatibility of the new wheel is not foolproof. They work in CX, but only because everyone is getting a fresh clean bike every lap. And, that’s pretty crazy.
    It’s a nice system for a commuter, they look sort of cool, but not really necessary. I have one bike with discs, hydraulic brakes are much more difficult to set up and transfer to another frame.
    Chainstays, seatstays and forks should be symmetrical; when pushing a bike toward its limits, the flex should be linear and right hand turns should feel like left hand turns.

    Weight? A lighter limit will inevitably cause a failure and an accident or two. Most frames and wheels are pretty safe atm. I know you’re a proponent of a lighter bike. You could get one for yourself. It would be fun to climb with a superlight bike, but not very durable for Fred.

    The demise of Campy is a comment on the modern world in general. If it happens, or worse, the quality disappears, human extinction is not far behind.

    • Also, discs in a pileup during a stage could take 20 riders out of the overall just because their discs were all bent. That would be a disaster.

    • how many pro’s ride the same rims with the same brake pads, are the same weight and need the same braking distance and brake at exactly the same time/place?

      Do all riders have exactly the same ability and confidence?

      how many times do we see riders plough into each other now?

      the braking quality and rider ability is not homogenous in the peleton and never will be.

      disk brakes will alter some peoples ability to brake later or harder but I believe will generally make things safer.

      If disk brakes are introduced into the pro ranks, there will be several different systems in use with different rotor construction and different pad materials. the riders will also be different weights and brake at different times/speeds, depending on ability.

      So very little will actually change.

      • It is a studied and quantified fact that discs’ stopping power is greater than cantilevered brakes, especially in the wet. There is also a list of cons regarding discs.

        So, are you saying you don’t care about more accidents? Or, are you saying to just ignore the cons? Or, both?

        • Don’t know if this is meant for me or not but…

          I don’t like to see anyone hurt, for any reason.

          I’ve come off my disk brake mtb many times, sometimes in the company of several other disk brake shod bikes who have also crashed. I have never been injured by the rotor, i have never seen anyone or heard of anyone being injured by a rotor in this way. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen but the rotors are not razor sharp, they don’t have sharp edges and they are not particularly exposed even if you fall so the rotor is uppermost. you have to get past the tyre first.

          The most common rotor injury is putting your calf onto a hot rotor when you’re at the bottom of a steep descent when standing next to your bike, or someone else’s. followed by getting a finger caught in a spinning rotor doing maintenance.

          I have seen, heard and experienced loads of chainring injuries.

          The cons of weight can be easily sorted, the cons of wind resistance are not so great as thought, (as shown by recent studies).

          The cons of wheel replacement during a race can be sorted, it might take longer but if everyone is the same this is not an issue, front wheel lawyer tags are not the problem they were reported to be. i don’t think you need thru axles for road bikes. I don’t have them, i use allen key axles but could easily use QR.

          anything I’ve missed?

          • The most common rotor problem, in a bunch with canti brakes as well will be cantis rear ending discs. That is a Safety Problem.
            In a pile up, a disc for the road can easily be bent, requiring replacement. That is a problem.
            I do not believe there will never be every manufacturer building to the same design.
            The cons of wheel replacement have not been sorted yet. This is a sign that it may not be so easy, Or, that manufacturers are not as excited about the idea as you are. Why do you think that might be?

  11. How many “mechanicals” should now be called “electricals”? Pretty sure most of Wiggins throw-the-bike tantrums were down to DI2 failures, didn’t Pozzato and possibly another cross the 17% gradient finish line in a Dubai stage due to DI2 defaulting to big ring when it fails?

    I’m not anti tech but I suspect electronic shifting isn’t as divine as some of the pro teams make out.

    Disc brakes in the pro ranks need the manufacturers to accept standard rotor and axle sizes, or neutral service will need a truck to carry all the permutations.

    • I agree about electronic shifting problems in the pro peloton. There are many examples of dropped chains in time trials that would probably have cost the rider much less time to deal with on a mechanical shifting system. Even though electronic shifting has proven to be quite reliable, the cost of failures, however infrequent, is high enough that I think it’s better suited to casual riders than professionals.

  12. I purchased a bike (caad 10) with a press-fit bottom bracket (bb30) and bitterly regret it. Since then I have ridden the bike very little and have had to visit the bike-dealership way too often. Constant creaking. And the lbs sees every visit by me as a chance to charge me.
    Between the corporate machine that pushed a useless improvement (and Cannondale has been singularly unhelpful through it all) and the bike dealership posing as a local bike store trying to con me every step of the way (even warrantying the frame was seen as a way to make money for them) I have been basically screwed out of hundreds of dollars on top of the original cost of the bike, berated by the dealership and left with another press-fit frame that is basically useless.
    This is when I regret, as in sincerely regret, not being able to ride anymore. Thank you Cannondale!

    • Sorry to read that fella, not nice to hear about people being screwed over.

      Answer = Hope PF BB. They have a threaded centre tube to stop creaking, sealed cartridge bearings so once it’s in it’s in and only the bearings are changed and I think they can be adapted to work with GXP cranks if required.

      Maintains the benefits of a PF BB and removes the drawbacks.

    • I had the same problem with my CAAD. Finally after three different mechanics looking at it saying it just needed more grease, one decided to put a new crankset on it under warranty. Immediately fixed the problem so I think it was FSA’s fault rather than Cannondale

  13. new design means we don’t have to follow established form. disk brake callipers can be mounted on the right fork leg. this is where i have mine, though it is on a custom Ti fork.

  14. I absolutely love new tech!

    On the other hand, I love the low-tech, elegant solution that a bicycle represents. Freedom, fun, great exercise and self reliance are all part of it. One of the most beautiful aspects of bike riding is the purity of the self-powered experience.

    As nice as electronic shifting sounds, I will never buy it. I prefer my shifting to be powered by ME – NOT by a coal-burning power plant, or solar, or wind, for that matter. In my opinion, everything that happens on a bike should be human-powered.

    So, bring on the tech! But keep it simple, elegant and human-powered. Otherwise, we might as well be riding motorcycles…

  15. I have been using Di2 7970 series since early 2011. I think the concerns about electronic shifting are way overstated. I average between 5000-6000 miles per year and have to charge the battery about every 2500 miles. For me the front shifting on the 7970 is significantly better than the 7800 series mechanical group set it replaced. It has only happened to me once, but when the battery gets low it first shuts down the front derailleur, while still give approximately 150 miles of shifting on the rear. It was plenty enough to get me home.

    I also use the Trek DuoTrap ANT+ sensor connected to a Garmin 800. For the future I would really like to see better integration with Di2 so the Garmin could show what gear I am in, available battery life etc… If wireless shifting required individual batteries for each component I am not sure I would go for it, but I also know I would not buy a new road bike without electronic shifting.

    • I love Di2 as well. Done about 50,000km with mine and only drama I’ve had was the battery go flat once – totally my fault for trying to squeeze one more ride in before charging. It was a hilly ride and luckily the FD stopped on the small chainring! Rode the 80km home just using the rear gears.

  16. I stopped racing a few years ago. Afterwards, it struck me plainly that the last thing I needed for fitness, recreation, and even training for racing once again, was an expensive racing bike. Struck me that I didn’t even need indexed shifting on the down tube, let alone STI shifting. Why not down tube shifters? I was commuting on an old beater with down tube shifters just ten years ago. Through the haze of hype and manipulation, I somehow managed to rediscover the memory of it being just perfectly fine. I was having some issues with my bottom bracket. Struck me if it were an old cup and cone system, I could fix the issue fairly easily. I then relocated the memory I had of enjoying getting the adjustments just right and being able to clean and repair the old systems myself. Then, just by happenstance, I had memories of how much I loved that old Shimano 105 set, especially the brakes. Nothing now seems obvious about these new bikes. Even for racing! I still don’t understand the appeal of electronic shifting. (I haven’t raced with it.) When was mechanical STI shifting a problem? Disc brakes? Not needed for racing, especially for amateur racing. In five years, consumer tools . . . I mean, riders will feel inferior without disc brakes like they did when they were on aluminum and couldn’t afford carbon fiber.

    If people start to recognize how badly they’re getting played here, the bikes of the future should look a lot more like the bikes of the past.

    The pros can do what they want, but if national federations even come close to requiring electronic shifting, wireless shifting, disc brakes, or anything else these corporations want to sell that’s not needed for racing, there should be BLOOD.

    • Got to like Ronin’s take here.

      Still have the 30 year old steel Colnago with Campy Super Record, silk Sew-ups in the attic.
      It maybe heavy but boy is a fun to ride. ( though to get clusters)

  17. Top range bikes are getting more expensive and tech riddled, but the price and quality at the lower end of the market is now greatly improved on even 5 years ago. Trickle down from race proven dura ace to ultegra and 105 gives real benefits to the bloke on the street who is buying a lot more bike for his hard earned. The gap is widening, but if you separate wants and needs, we are getting better bikes than we were.
    I just built up a cross/commuter/trail/go anywhere bike and thought long and hard about disc vs canti brakes. Ended up going the canti option with some mini v brakes and the braking has been superb and all significantly cheaper than I could afford to do with today’s disc brake tech.
    Road discs seem to be still on the front of tech wave and playing fast catchup with the mtb world where they appear to be learning lessons quickly, ie axle design and hydraulic v cable actuator. Another few generations of hydraulic disc brakes and the common axle/disc/sparing question will have bedded down and they will be wide spread at lower cost than current offerings. I’ll still be enjoying my old bikes

    • Yes, Di2 was something like $5K for the groupset when it first came out! Not many people could afford or justify spending that. Now you can buy Ultegra Di2 for around $1500 (similar price to Dura Ace mechanical) or cheaper if you are upgrading to Di2 from a mechanical groupset.

      Cars are the same with technology from racing cars and luxury cars trickling down to base models. Very rare to find a car today without disc brakes, power steering, power windows, central locking and air con. 10 years ago these features were mainly on prestige cars costing tens of thousands of dollars.

      There is also the power and fuel efficiency of modern cars. These days you can get 4cyl cars putting out the same power as an older V8 but still get 30+MPG.

  18. My 4 bikes have campy, sram with gripshift, shimano and shimano Di2 respectively. All of them work…. just fine thanks. The Di2 shifts fast and slick on my carbon racer, campy suits my old Bianchi alloy racer and works flawlessly even after 12 years. SRAM is great on the mountain bike and I get to work each and every day on a cobbled together shimano setup that I would love to replace but it won’t stop working. I would happily use discs on the road and combine with carbon rims as carbon seems a dumb choice for a braking surface. I expect my next “best bike” to have carbon wheels, frame, integrated power meter, wireless electronic shifting and maybe tubeless tyres. But I also expect to have to pedal the damn thing.

  19. Nice article thanx,
    If shifting goes wireless It can and will be hacked!
    A good friend(rafa) and former avid cyclist, recently bought himself a moto for say 2000money, a machine arguably more complex than his 3500money bike.
    MTB componentes at least mid-low range are generally cheaper than their sister parts for the road.
    Where is the trick?
    Is development always positive? – part of the marketing idea is that we, the mortal cyclists, can imagine ourselves doing that climb on that Colnago bike.
    Could they shoot themselves in the foot making it unaffordable for us?
    Discbrakes makes sense but are electro gears really that much of a practical improvement, dunno dunno? but all racing I did was Alleycat racing.
    cheers for the insights in article and comments 🙂

  20. The comments about disc brakes seem poorly thought through and I do genuinely struggle to see why anyone would be against them (except for the obvious not wanting to change frames, prefer classic looks etc. I do understand that as I still ride steel only!):

    The discs placement inside the fork/rear triangle means the chances of people being cut in a pile up are very small, the big ring is much more exposed and much more likely to do you some damage.

    They are currently heavier yes, but assuming that the tech will stay as it is really isn’t sensible. The only way they will improve though is if they enter the WT. If you are really bothered by the current extra few grams I’m assuming you’re already riding a bike that’s under the UCI limit, you take off bottle cages and bolts when not needed, make your own carbon shoes a la Greg Henderson etc…

    Discs hardly ever bend, certainly not to the point where you can’t get a wheel on. They are also protected by the frame/fork and wheel from heavy impacts. Basically, if your disc is bent beyond use it’s pretty much certain that either your wheel is also taco’d or your frame/fork is snapped.

    There are huge opportunities to improve rim design. I think that there needs to be a 3:1 depth to width rim profile to seen any aero effects. This depth must start at the point of narrowing so you have to start after the 1-1.5 cm braking track. The result of removing the braking track means either more aero wheels or better aerodynamics for shallower profile rims, meaning less effects in cross-winds and, crucially, lighter wheels. The fact they won’t have to overbuild rims to accommodate not just wear but also the compression forces exerted by rim brakes will also reduce the weight. So even if the system is always heavier then we could see fairly significant weight reductions in the rotating mass of the rim, where weight saving really does matter.

    And the biggest point of all. Hydraulic disc brakes are immensely better than rim brakes. You can buy a set of Deore mountain bike hydraulic brakes (equivalent to Tiagra) for £60 the pair online. These brakes are good enough to be used on downhill mountain bikes on world cup courses, and they function exactly the same no matter what the weather/mud/whatever else gets in there. They stop you better than the most expensive rim brakes out there. For £60. For the whole brake set up, levers and all. You can’t even get one Dura-ace caliper for that.

    How many times have you been descending in the wet, grabbed your brakes and… Nothing? I know I have. Doesn’t happen with hydraulic discs. They stop you just like they would in the dry (obviously tyre traction varies but not hugely as long as you don’t lock up). How is this possibly a bad thing? We constantly see pros taking a bad line and going off the road, into barriers etc. disc brakes couple easily have prevented many of these crashes and certainly made them much slower. Yes, people will push harder with more braking power, but it still struggle to see how anyone could see it as bad.

    We could even guess that it might lead to more aerodynamic frames, with no requirement to fit calipers in there, better tyre clearance so we can get 35mms into our race frames and have some fun off-road. Who knows? No one until the pros take them up and the industry decide to focus on them properly.

    I do understand people not wanting to change frames, whole stocks of wheels they might have etc. but that’s not going to happen overnight. You can still by 5 speed cassettes/freehubs, rim brakes will be around for a long time.

    Disc brakes are the future and it’s about time the WT had them.

    • I agree with you that discs will allow rim shapes to change. I do not think there will be much weight savings at the rim. Fewer spokes requires stronger rims, which generally means more weight. (Yes, carbon rims can be lighter than aluminum rims, and can offset this some). In the early 90s, everyone around me raced on Mavic GL330s, except for small guys who raced on GL280s. [My wife raced on 260g Campy rims. 36 spoke only. Want some? I have 2 brand new in my garage.] These all used 32 or 36 spokes, because it was the only way to make the rim strong enough. Now rims are 400g or more, because everyone runs smaller spoke counts to save on aerodynamic drag. Smaller spoke counts means heavier rims. This is going to remain true even with discs – the only real way weight will be saved will be with carbon rims.

      • I’m sat looking at my road bike rims, they’re pretty cheap and not aero, and about half of the visible material is braking track. Now obviously we still need the bead seat etc, but losing this and leaving just the curved section will probably increase strength while lowering the weight. I don’t know by how much, but I don’t think it’s beyond the possibility of losing the difference in weight between rim and disc brakes.

        Those Campy rims? I’d happily take them! But then, I got for strength over weight so would be more happy with 36 spokes rather than the current 16/20 count I have. If you know them I’m currently running Sun Ringle Big Fat Mammoth rims on my mountain bike, because they’re made fae girders 😉

        • You’ll always need some weight for strength in the rims. The 260g, 36 spoke Campy rims didn’t have it. My wife once broke a rear spoke – the wheel was unrideable in about 5 feet. As in the wheel went out of true so bad, the wheel jammed into the chainstay unrideable. So I’d say that was below the limit for aluminum tubular rims.

          That being said, if discs allow someone to make 260g, low spoke count aero rims that are strong and reliable, (and I suspect it is possible) I’m all for it. I’ll never have them, because these will be beyond anything I ever need (or even want), but why not.

    • Your last sentence is right up there with the claims that disky brakes are unsafe in the peloton. The motorcycle is/was future of the bicycle and (so far) they’re not allowed in the WT. Just because we can doesn’t mean we must. The very act of racing a BICYCLE is antiquated, so where is the limit? Should a bike be anything that you can pedal? In what position? I don’t want to see bike racing turn into MOTOGP with pedals. Downhill racing MTB’s are already way too “moto” for me!

      • Sorry, I really don’t get your point? Your argument seems to be getting very close to reductio as absurdum.

        I’m not advocating motors, some kind of KERS system or the use of dernys, I’m advocating something which will make bikes safer, in some situations much, much safer, that has no effect on the power output of the person riding it.

    • “How is this possibly a bad thing?”

      Maintaining hydraulic brakes on my mountain bikes is a massive PITA. Binding pistons that lock onto the rim, dragging continually. Wow, that’s annoying. It’s often very difficult to fix too.

      The pad to rotor distance is very small indeed. Changing wheels is slower as a result. It also makes swapping wheels very difficult indeed. If the rotor is not positioned oin exactly the same place on both wheels, it will not fit or will go into the caliper but will drag/bind. unlike a caliper, the way you adjust that is by slackening off the bolts that attach the brake to the frame/fork, moving it and re-attaching it. With some systems, you have to take the caliper off and fit various shims.

      “they function exactly the same no matter what the weather/mud/whatever else gets in there” This is not true. If you get any oily contimant on either the pad or rim, you’re totally screwed. It often means new pads, which is a 10 minute job with the wheel out. Discs can be extremely noisy at times. The hydraulic systems can develop fade when hot. Very often I’ve lost power on long and steep descents. They can boil their fluid and pop their seals, leaking fluid onto the pads and rotors. Finally, the first SRAM system was recalled due to failures in cold weather.

      I’m not anti-tech. I can see maybe one day having electronic shifting, though at present would prefer the weight saving of mech, but not discs. Rim brakes, even with carbon rims, even in the wet, have given me all the power and modulation I need. Discs might suit some people, but they are not the flawless panacea that some portray them as.

      • Just realised that i should have said that, when working well, discs on mountain bikes are far better than rim brakes. However the rim brake issues faced by a mountain biker and are another level than those faced by a road rider.

      • Maintaining hydraulics is overall a lot less time consuming, I know people who have run the same brakes for 5+ years with no maintenance other than pad changes and the majority of people I know have never bled their brakes. Yes, bleeding is a bit of a faff, but it isn’t difficult and it’s needed very, very rarely.

        Changing wheels takes about the same time with a well designed through axle (like a Maxle or Syntace) as there are no requirements for adjustments on the non-lever side and lawyer tabs are gone. Aligning a disc with a caliper is not hard and with through axles the hub pretty much does it for you, especially with a smaller disc.

        Caliper alignment could be solved with some smart design (mini qr’s on the bolts similar to these, but it’s really not a huge issue as long as some standards are adhered to. I’ve fitted several wheels from other bikes to my mountain bike and they have spun fine with no noise or very little. The caliper will adjust so there is wiggle room and they don’t have to be “exactly” the same.

        Sram products failing? Well…I’m not sure that’s a fair representation of the current tech considering their history.

        Oil on discs or pads? Of course that’s a problem. It affects rim brakes in exactly the same way but in reality it is much more likely to affect rim brakes as the disc is well away from the road, the rims aren’t.

        Noisy? Yes. I don’t really see how that’s a problem apart from being slightly annoying though, rim brakes can be noisy too.

        Rim brakes also fade when hot, usually a lot faster than hydraulic discs. I’ve never lost power in my brakes, even on very long, steep descents down trails and mountains in Scotland but brake failures are hardly something limited to discs and are almost always down to poor technique from what I’ve seen.

        Of course they’re not flawless but they are much better than rim brakes in pretty much every way except weight and maintenance.

    • Pal, do some homework. This isn’t the first disc discussion. Your thought are your opinions and just because you’ve filled the thread with them, it doesn’t mean they’re factual.

      There are reasons why discs aren’t in the peloton. If and when the engineers address those reasons I imagine discs in the pro peloton will be reconsidered.

      Ask yourself why discs would be an improvement. Then, ask yourself if all the shortcomings are a worthwhile tradeoff….

  21. The Industry does not want you fettling your own bike or taking it down to the independent LBS. They want you to book an appointment to have a technician see to it behind the glass and steel facade of the Corporate branded workshop. Which you will “pay” for, usually through the nose. Seen it happen in the motorcycle industry and the vela is going the same way with lashings of marketing BS.

    Electricals, discs, tubeless, integrated this n that are fine, just make sure your sponsor is footing the bill.

  22. “So even if the system is always heavier then we could see fairly significant weight reductions in the rotating mass of the rim, where weight saving really does matter.”

    The impact to cycling performance of wheel rim rotating mass differences are exceptionally tiny. It’s an often misunderstood and way over-hyped performance issue.

    Rim brakes *are* disk brakes. They are large diameter disks that work really well for many situations. The disk brakes being introduced are also suitable for many situations.

    • It’s not really overstated when we are talking about pros though and that’s where this is going to matter. It’s going to matter in a sprint if someones wheels are a couple of hundred grams lighter, especially if this loss of weight ties in to improved aero-dynamics from better rim shape. It’s not so much of a consideration on a climb if all the bikes hit 6.8kg.

      As for rims being discs. Yes, as long as you add the limitations which are a long list: You are grinding away an integral part of your bike, you are massively limited to pads you can use because of this and the materials used in high end rims, they can be pretty much useless if it gets wet and/or muddy etc., the performance of the brakes is massively variable in different conditions making them very unpredictable, they require much more force than hydraulic discs, they require more regular maintenance than hydraulic discs and overheating a warping a rim on a long descent is much, much worse than warping a disc.

      If you include all that, they’re discs.

      • I’m not entering the disk brake argument, like I said, often the tech just isn’t required, the performance benefit doesn’t justify the extra cost/complexity for many, while for others it’s a completely sound solution.

        Disk brakes are not the right solution for all and neither are rim brakes. e.g. I’ve never lost a crit and though, “if only I had disk brakes…”

        As for rim mass, generally making rims more aero adds mass, not reduces it, but in any case adding or taking away a bit of mass to/from rims is not a performance change of any significance even for pros. That’s just simple (but generally misunderstood) physics. Accelerations are not large, and the energy demand for a little extra mass at rim compared with elsewhere is minuscule.

        As for enabling better aero rim design, one needs to consider the total aero package, not just changes to the rim. Adding disk brakes and callipers can be swings and roundabouts from an aerodynamics POV. Aero rims + a disk brake may or may not be better aerodynamically than well designed rim brake set up with aero rims.

        For a road sprinter, a better aero package overall is superior performance wise than a lighter one.

        • Better aero rims does mean adding mass, but removing the braking track means removing mass while maintaining the aero benefits. It’s fine to say aero is more important than weight, but when aero benefits are the same weight is the only thing that can change and rim weight does matter, otherwise no-one would be on carbon rims. Sprints can be won by fractions of a second, to make a statement like “taking away a bit of mass to/from rims is not a performance change of any significance even for pros” without backing it up is completely disingenuous when we consider the tiny margins between victory and defeat. Maybe saving those 5 or so watts it all equates to in the last 100 metres puts you over the line just in front of the next guy? Although I have no idea how you’d ever go about measuring that.

          Disc calipers are probably easier to hide than rim brakes, I’d guess that the whole aero package could be improved, especially in relation to the headtube/fork if there is no requirement to mount (either externally or internally) a caliper up there.

          But this all misses the main point. Hydraulic disc brakes will stop you better in all conditions, and in some conditions the difference is massive. It’s arguing against better braking, which seems insane.

          At the end of the day, it’s always going to be a choice, but they should be in the WT, allowing the tech to develop so more people can afford that choice.

          • If you have no idea about how energy demand it is calculated or measured, then I suggest you don’t make claims about the relative importance of various energy demand factors until you do.

            A road sprinter who brakes loses, so the best brakes for that scenario are the ones that provide the least energy demand during a sprint (and indeed the least energy demand all race so the rider is a fresh as feasibly possible when the sprint in on).

            Aerodynamics is by far the biggest energy demand factor in sprints. By a long way. Rim mass is 2-3 orders of magnitude less important. A change in aero is far more important than change in rim mass.

            For a disk brake set up to be a better option for a road sprinter, it would require the set up provide superior aerodynamics over a rim brake set up. That may well be possible, but it needs more work to demonstrate such benefit.

            Of course pros ride what they are require to ride, and that’s most often not what’s optimal.

  23. I have a solution to “dead battery” problem. Build in a small solar unit/nicad on the stem.
    Powers all your electronics. Just get Manufactures to agree on voltage/watts etc. run microelectronic wires through out the frame internally. Dead battery problems solved,and something new to sell everyone.

    Thanks Inrg always something to chat about

  24. One thing that I reckon is missing on this list is the bike computer is on borrowed time.

    Why have a rather non-aero square blob sticking out on top or in front of your pretty aero handlebar?

    Sooner or later, head-up glasses, possibly combined with a couple of very small buttons on the bar talking to the glasses via Bluetooth, will replace bike computers.

    Something for both the technology nerds and the traditionalists to celebrate.

  25. When I bought my road bike I really wanted one with hydraulic disk brakes but there were none. It’s hard to get used to delayed brake performance in the wet if you ride your mountain bike half the time. I hope the UCI allows disc brakes for races soon so all the wannabes will want them and they will become commonplace.
    Press-fit BB’s however I would like to see fade away again. Press-fits are a good manufacturing technique but not for a wear-and-tear part like a bottom bracket. The marketing trick they’ve used for those is to introduce wider axles and wider BB shells (lighter, stiffer) together with the cheaper-to-make pressfit. A large diameter, wide, threaded BB shell, that’s where the future should go.

    Wilder ideas for the future:
    -A separate competition for e-bike riders
    -Electronically controlled braking with collision avoidance in the peleton
    -Superlight unbreakable anti-puncture layers based on graphene sheets

  26. Cool photo on top of the magnetic levitation train cruising along with Tony Martin at the head of the peloton: high-tech both on and off the bike! Was it at the Tour of Beijing?

  27. Surprisingly, this was one of your most popular posts, Mr. Inrng. Apparently, your blog-ees have a lot to say when it comes to PEDs and disc brakes! ^.^

  28. personally, i think the 6.8kg rule is one of the best ever introduced by the UCI. Yes, it is somewhat of a blunt instrument, but as a consumer i think it has blunted the “weight weenie arms race” that no doubt would have ensued (to an even greater extent than it has).

    for example, one of my toys came with an 11g front derailleur clamp – no names no pack drill. this bit of kit failed on me in the Pyrenees one year. The manufacturer was excellent in their customer service – not only replaced the item (which has remained unused), but also paid for damage (to the front mech) it had caused. however, when i put it to them why not make this mark stronger but adding 1g, 2g’s or whatever, no meaningful reply was received.

    in the ever increasingly high tech world of bikes, this one simple rule has done the most (and will also likely be the only thing going forward to temper a lot of manufacturer excesses in the weight department whilst it remains ) in addressing the “bontrager dilemma” – strong, light, cheap – pick two!

    • Many, many times when I was in bike retail, we had clients come in with various “SLS” (stupid, lightweight shit) that had failed. I mean serious, critical parts like seatposts, wheels and stems. The makers were very quick to apologize and replace them…and what did the client do? Installed the new part and rode away happily! I suggested that they perhaps sell off the brand-new replacement and instead use something more durable and reliable, but they wanted nothing to do with the idea. More than one had the new part fail as well, but insisted “the third try would be the charm” and bolted another one on. I think/hope most of the pros are smarter than this?

        • I don’t remember that many drilled out CRANKS, a very critical part, but plenty of chainrings which are unlikely to fail and not catastrophically even if they did. Most of the dumb things I can remember which failed turned out usually to have been dreamed up by someone other than the rider. I don’t think it was Tyler Hamilton’s idea to take out one of the freewheel pawls to save weight, but when the bike freewheeled in the wrong direction briefly I think he lost a tooth? Same with the boneheaded idea of taking off the front changer since the chrono bike had only one chainring – but forgetting that part also served to keep the chain from falling off. I’m sure you can dig up some exceptions, but most of the pros tend to be pretty conservative when it comes to equipment choices – the wacky, risky stuff is usually forced upon them by marketing mavens, etc.

      • Pros will always push the limits though and why not? They have team mechanics, access to trucks full of spares, spare bikes following them on cars the whole time they are racing. Why not push it and see if it helps. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Contadors mechanic seems to be able to make his pedals spin on their bearings with hardly a touch. I’m guessing by using very light grease. Sure the bearings will wear quicker, but they can be replaced whenever needed.

        What would be interesting is to know what Pros ride at home/for training, if they have easy access to parts and if it differs greatly from their race set up. I’d guess it quite possibly does.

    • What I’ve never understood about the weight limit is that it is a fixed number and not proportional to the size of the bike. For example, a 48 cm frame has to weight the same as a 63 cm frame (considering identical build), right?

      • No, the frame can weigh whatever you want. The full bike build has to weigh 6.8kgs which makes sense. so a smaller frame will be lighter and if require weight will be added to bring it up to spec.

  29. The expected repeal of the 6.8kg rule may not produce large weight reductions, at least not in the short term. There are plenty of bikes in the pro peloton today weighing significantly more than the minimum, up to 7.5 kg for some larger riders. Why are they not made lighter? Is the ‘untapped potential’ really all that it is rumored to be? Functional bikes weighing less than 5 kg have been built with off-the-shelf parts but the pro teams do not employ the very lightest parts even when they could use them within the rules.

    • Functional is one thing. Durable enough to withstand pro use is another. While the pro bikes get lots of looking after from the team techs “tender loving care” is not really the case. It’s a tough life for these bikes during the race, not to mention crashing or post-race, jammed in piles under the bus, stacked up before/after washing, falling off the team car, etc. If on-bike video broadcast is a long-term goal they’d be smart to leave the weight minimum where it is to allow installation of the camera equipment instead of ballast to meet the requirements.

  30. This kind of seems like the growing wealth disparity in the U.S. The top 0.1% have more money than the poorest 130 million.

    Now you have people who were previously on $2K bikes riding around on $8 or $10K bikes. I’m all for innovation and new stuff and whatever, and I know there isn’t a direct correlation and a lot of other factors but…

    I’d rather have more cycling infrastructure, more bike shares, more bike co-ops, more cyclists in protected lanes than a few weekend roadies on crazy electronic bikes. I’d like to see the big companies (ahem, Trek, Specialized) doing more to make cycling an honest and safe transportation alternative than selling $10K bikes to bankers.

    I know it won’t happen, but I can dream. As someone who owns fancy bikes and rides seriously, but also commutes on a racked/fendered bike, I’d like to see more done for cycling advocacy than just cycling tech. Most of the guys I ride with on weekends never, ever ride a bike to commute. It’s sad.

    Just my commentary. I’d rather see cycling become a safe and accepted sport and form of transportation in the U.S. than anything. Right now cyclists are second-class citizens. I wish more roadies were also involved in advocacy.

  31. Amen Ron,
    Not to flog a dead horse, but as I’m geo/time challenged here in California.

    Lets agree that some people want to walk across the outback, and some people want to travel in a motor
    home. There will always be enterprises selling to all constituent groups.

  32. How fast can you change a rear wheel on a disc equipped bike? With these bikes in the peloton, either teams are going to be required to carry spare bikes (higher cost) or someone is going to lose a race because of it. I seem to recall a Tour of Flanders or a Paris-Roubaix when Tom Boonen had two flats but managed somehow to win the race.

  33. Just on tyres; can’t help wonder if someone will come up with a game-changer technology which replaces all of the current options. Stronger, cheaper, better. New fabrics are being invented all the time, maybe one of their owner companies sees bike tyres as a target segment and/or perhaps partners with Vittoria/Continental etc…

  34. Really great article enjoyed reading it along with a lot of your articles on the site.

    Feels like someone is writing it properly and not just because they are getting paid to write something, keep up the good work

  35. Discs look fantastic……..on a Yamaha R1. Why the hell would you need discs on a featherweight racing bike? Is the industry finding solutions to problems that don’t exist! and don’t get me started on hydraulics, dear god.

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